Internal optical disc drives of that brand have almost disappeared from shops and the manufacturer itself seems to have lost interest in such devices, focusing on notebook and external drives instead. It is yet uncertain if we ever see new IDE devices with the AOpen logo in the future, so the DUW1608/ARR model, the subject matter of this review, is perhaps the last optical drive from that brand to be tested in our labs.
If this comes true, there’ll be one player less in the optical drive market. It is sad since drives from AOpen used to perform very well, yet the decrease in the ranks of the manufacturers is quite natural. It has become very hard to survive in this market considering the dramatic reduction of the price of DVD-recording devices.
But let’s now have a look at the device about to be tested.
The AOpen DUW1608/ARR is not actually an up-to-date device. Its speed formula is typical for the previous generation of optical drives, yet its characteristics suffice for a majority of users even today.
We got an OEM version of the drive (i.e. without any accessories), but you can still find a retail version with such bonuses as software for burning discs (Nero Burning Rom) and reproducing DVD Video (PowerDVD), an installation instruction, fasteners, an audio cable, and an emergency eject wire. You don’t get blank DVDs, but the manufacturer includes white and black faceplates instead. The latter thing is probably the weightiest argument in favor of a retail rather than OEM version of the drive.
This device doesn’t try to impress you with its exterior – it has a standard front panel with a minimum of controls and indicators. Like many other manufacturers, AOpen has stopped to put a headphones socket on the front panel; the volume control is missing, too, of course. Besides the string of logotypes that confirm the drive’s ability to work with almost all existing types of optical media, the front panel carries an Eject button, an emergency eject hole and a green LED that informs the user about the reading/writing processes (this single-color indicator isn’t very informative, though). Overall, despite the certain austerity of design, the device looks nice, especially with a black faceplate.
The rear panel is perfectly standard, carrying digital and analog audio outputs, interface and power connectors, and a jumper with pins. The labels are located on the plastic top of the rear panel, rather than on the top panel of the case, and are well readable. Inexperienced users should appreciate this helpful feature if they are installing the drive on their own. There are no vent openings here, not to mention active cooling. This may result in a higher temperature inside the case of the drive, but dust won’t get in, either.